Dhaka Central Jail was Bangladesh’s largest jail, located in the old section of Dhaka. Originally there was a Mughal fort at this site. During the early part of the 19th century, the fort was renovated and became a jail. There were 800 inmates listed there in 1833 (though the normal average was 526), and in 1836 the Kotowali Police Station was housed there. It had the joint role of housing criminals as well as political prisoners, notably during the Language Movement of 1952, the 6 Point Movement, and the Bangladesh Liberation War.
The jail played an infamous role in Bangladeshi history when four political leaders were killed here. They were: A. H. M. Qamaruzzaman (1926-75), a leading member of the Awami League;
Tajuddin Ahmad (1925-75), a Bengalis statesman; Syed Nazrul Islam (1925-75), one-time Acting President; and Captain Muhammad Mansur Ali (1917-75), Prime Minister; all four being assassinated on the eve of a military countercoup on 3 November 1975 against the regime of President Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad (1918-86) (who had asked the four to support his regime, which they had refused), and army chief Ziaur Rahman (1936-81), which had seized power on 15 August after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (1920-75), first President of Bangladesh, known as ‘Father of the Nation.’ The assassinations are remembered to this day, the date referred to as ‘Jail Killing Day’.
In July 2016 the current prisoners were moved to the new Dhaka Central Jail at Keraniganj. A park and two museums are being planned in the nine-acre site of the old jail complex.
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